Delays loom for traffic blackspot projects

The transport ministry is to re-examine some 40 major road projects to assess their impact on air quality, following a Council of State ruling earlier this week.

The Council ruled against plans to widen the A4 motorway near Leiden on Wednesday, saying not enough research had been done on the consequences for air quality.
Ministry officials are now looking at all other road-widening projects, including traffic blackspots such as the A2 near Leenderheide and the A28 near Zwolle. They hope by identifying projects which might not meet air quality research criteria that they can rule out any further legal procedures in advance.
MPs want transport minister Camiel Eurlings to outline what he next plans to do to reduce pressure on the A4, which is a very busy commuter route but only two lanes wide in places.
‘We are talking about improvements to mobility as well as air quality,’ said Christian Democrat MP Ger Koopmans.
However, professor Ingo Hansen of Delft University of Technology told Trouw that expanding roads only attracted more traffic. ‘And to say that because cars are cleaner that the air quality will not worsen is too optimistic,’ he told the paper.
Environmental group Milieudefensie, which brought the A4 case, is also preparing legal protests against the digging of a second Coen tunnel in western Amsterdam. That case comes before the Council of State on Tuesday, ANP reported.

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